Widespread genetic connectivity of feral pigeons across the Northeastern megacity.
ABSTRACT: Urbanization may restrict, facilitate, or have no effect on gene flow, depending on the organism and extent of urbanization. In human commensals, with high dispersal ability, urbanization can facilitate gene flow by providing continuous suitable habitat across a wide range. Additionally, suburban or rural areas with lower human population density may act as a barrier to gene flow for these human commensals. Spatial population genetic approaches provide a means to understand genetic connectivity across geographically expansive areas that encompass multiple metropolitan areas. Here, we examined the spatial genetic patterns of feral pigeons (Columba livia) living in cities in the eastern United States. We focused our sampling on the Northeastern megacity, which is a region covering six large cities (Boston, Providence, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC). We performed ddRAD-Seqon 473 samples, recovered 35,200 SNPs, and then used multiple evolutionary clustering analyses to investigate population structuring. These analyses revealed that pigeons formed two genetic clusters-a northern cluster containing samples from Boston and Providence and a southern cluster containing all other samples. This substructuring is possibly due to reduced urbanization across coastal Connecticut that separates Boston and Providence from New York and mid-Atlantic cities. We found that pairs of pigeons within 25 km are highly related (Mantel r = 0.217, p = .001) and that beyond 50 km, pigeons are no more related than they would be at random. Our analysis detected higher-than-expected gene flow under an isolation by distance model within each city. We conclude that the extreme urbanization characteristic of the Northeastern megacity is likely facilitating gene flow in feral pigeons.
Project description:Artificial light at night (ALAN) is one of the most extreme environmental alterations in urban areas, which drives nocturnal activity in diurnal species. Feral Pigeon (Columba livia f. domestica), a common species in urban centers worldwide, has been observed foraging at night in urban areas. However, the role of ALAN in the nocturnal activity of this species is unknown. Moreover, studies addressing the relationship between ALAN and nocturnal activity of diurnal birds are scarce in the Southern Hemisphere. The objective of this study is to assess the environmental factors associated with nocturnal activity of the Feral Pigeon in Argentinian cities. Environmental conditions were compared between sites where pigeons were seen foraging and randomly selected sites where pigeons were not recorded foraging. Nocturnal foraging by the Feral Pigeon was recorded in three of four surveyed cities. ALAN was positively related to nocturnal foraging activity in Salta and Buenos Aires. The results obtained suggest that urbanization would promote nocturnal activity in Feral Pigeons. Moreover, nocturnal activity was mainly driven by ALAN, which probably alters the circadian rhythm of pigeons.
Project description:The characteristics and risk factors of pigeon paramyxovirus type 1 (PPMV-1) infection in humans are poorly known. We performed virological, pathological, and epidemiological analyses of a Dutch case, and compared the results with those of a US case. Both infections occurred in transplant patients under immunosuppressive therapy and caused fatal respiratory failure. Both virus isolates clustered with PPMV-1, which has pigeons and doves as reservoir. Experimentally inoculated pigeons became infected and transmitted the virus to naive pigeons. Both patients were likely infected by contact with infected pigeons or doves. Given the large populations of feral pigeons with PPMV-1 infection in cities, increasing urbanization, and a higher proportion of immunocompromised individuals, the risk of severe human PPMV-1 infections may increase. We recommend testing for avian paramyxovirus type 1, including PPMV-1, in respiratory disease cases where common respiratory pathogens cannot be identified.
| S-EPMC7107406 | BioStudies
Project description:Widespread Genetic Connectivity of Feral Pigeons Across the Northeastern Megacity
Project description:As the rate of urbanization continues to increase globally, a growing body of research is emerging that investigates how urbanization shapes the movement-and consequent gene flow-of species in cities. Of particular interest are native species that persist in cities, either as small relict populations or as larger populations of synanthropic species that thrive alongside humans in new urban environments. In this study, we used genomic sequence data (SNPs) and spatially explicit individual-based analyses to directly compare the genetic structure and patterns of gene flow in two small mammals with different dispersal abilities that occupy the same urbanized landscape to evaluate how mobility impacts genetic connectivity. We collected 215 white-footed mice (<i>Peromyscus leucopus</i>) and 380 big brown bats (<i>Eptesicus fuscus</i>) across an urban-to-rural gradient within the Providence, Rhode Island (U.S.A.) metropolitan area (population =1,600,000 people). We found that mice and bats exhibit clear differences in their spatial genetic structure that are consistent with their dispersal abilities, with urbanization having a stronger effect on <i>Peromyscus</i> mice. There were sharp breaks in the genetic structure of mice within the Providence urban core, as well as reduced rates of migration and an increase in inbreeding with more urbanization. In contrast, bats showed very weak genetic structuring across the entire study area, suggesting a near-panmictic gene pool likely due to the ability to disperse by flight. Genetic diversity remained stable for both species across the study region. Mice also exhibited a stronger reduction in gene flow between island and mainland populations than bats. This study represents one of the first to directly compare multiple species within the same urban-to-rural landscape gradient, an important gap to fill for urban ecology and evolution. Moreover, here we document the impacts of dispersal capacity on connectivity for native species that have persisted as the urban landscape matrix expands.
Project description:Feral pigeons, common wood pigeons and Eurasian collared doves are the most common representatives of the Columbidae family in Switzerland and are mostly present in highly populated, urban areas. Pigeons may carry various members of the obligate intracellular Chlamydiaceae family, particularly Chlamydia (C.) psittaci, a known zoonotic agent, and C. avium. The objective of the study was to identify the infection rates of common free-roaming pigeons for different Chlamydia species with the overall aim to assess the risk pigeons pose to public health. In this study, 431 pigeons (323 feral pigeons, 34 domestic pigeons, 39 Eurasian collared doves, 35 common wood pigeons) from several geographic locations in Switzerland were investigated for the presence of Chlamydiaceae. Samples consisted of pooled choanal-cloacal swabs (n = 174), liver samples (n = 52), and paired swab and liver samples from 205 pigeons (n = 410). All 636 samples were screened using a Chlamydiaceae family-specific 23S rRNA real-time PCR (qPCR). Subsequent species identification was performed by DNA-microarray assay, sequencing of a 16S rRNA gene fragment and a C. psittaci specific qPCR. In total, 73 of the 431 pigeons tested positive for Chlamydiaceae, of which 68 were positive for C. psittaci, four were C. avium-positive and one pigeon was co-infected with C. avium and C. psittaci. The highest infection rates were detected in feral (64/323) and domestic pigeons (5/34). Common wood pigeons (2/35) and Eurasian collared doves (2/39) revealed lower infection rates. Additionally, multilocus sequence typing of twelve selected C. psittaci-positive samples revealed closely related sequence types (ST) between and within different Swiss cities. Furthermore, liver and corresponding swab samples from the same bird were colonized by the same ST. Considering the high infection rates of C. psittaci in domestic and feral pigeons, close or frequent contact to these birds poses a human health risk.
Project description:In many cities, the feral rock dove is an abundant bird species that can harbor Chlamydophila psittaci. We determined the prevalence and genotype of C. psittaci in fresh fecal samples from feral pigeons in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The prevalence was 7.9% overall (26/331; 95% confidence interval, 5 to 11). Ten genotyped PCR-positive samples were all genotype B.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Haemoparasites in feral pigeons have been studied in several countries but no data are available from Italy. The aim of this work was to evaluate the prevalence and diversity of Haemoproteus spp./Plasmodium spp. and Leucocytozoon spp. in feral pigeons from northwest Italy, as well as the association between infection and host age or sex. METHODS:Feral pigeons were collected during a regional culling programme from the Piedmont region (northwest Italy) and subjected to necropsy. Infections were detected from DNA extracted from the spleen following a nested PCR protocol. The association between sex or age and infection status was evaluated using the chi-squared test for independence or Fisher's exact test. RESULTS:Out of 51 animals, 15 were positive for Haemoproteus/Plasmodium spp. and eight for Leucocytozoon spp., with a significant difference between haemoparasites prevalence. There was no significant association between age or sex and infection status. The coinfection with different haemoparasites was very significant (p?<?0.01), showing a greater relative risk to be infected by a second haemoparasite in birds already infected, in particular in male and in adult pigeons. DNA sequencing of Leucocytozoon spp. showed six different lineages in pigeons, and one of Haemoproteus and Plasmodium, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:Blood parasites are continuously circulating around the world, and the results presented in the paper suggest that cross infection of feral pigeons with haemoparasites typical of other migratory or nonmigratory bird species is possible. Moreover, the geographical location of Italy along the main migratory routes is a crucial factor to be considered for migratory birds, because they can be affected by blood parasites detected in feral pigeons, and vice versa.
Project description:Genetic variation at the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene is correlated with melanin color variation in many birds. Feral pigeons (Columba livia) show two major melanin-based colorations: a red coloration due to pheomelanic pigment and a black coloration due to eumelanic pigment. Furthermore, within each color type, feral pigeons display continuous variation in the amount of melanin pigment present in the feathers, with individuals varying from pure white to a full dark melanic color. Coloration is highly heritable and it has been suggested that it is under natural or sexual selection, or both. Our objective was to investigate whether MC1R allelic variants are associated with plumage color in feral pigeons.We sequenced 888 bp of the coding sequence of MC1R among pigeons varying both in the type, eumelanin or pheomelanin, and the amount of melanin in their feathers. We detected 10 non-synonymous substitutions and 2 synonymous substitution but none of them were associated with a plumage type. It remains possible that non-synonymous substitutions that influence coloration are present in the short MC1R fragment that we did not sequence but this seems unlikely because we analyzed the entire functionally important region of the gene.Our results show that color differences among feral pigeons are probably not attributable to amino acid variation at the MC1R locus. Therefore, variation in regulatory regions of MC1R or variation in other genes may be responsible for the color polymorphism of feral pigeons.
Project description:As urbanization drastically alters the natural landscape and generates novel habitats within cities, the potential for changes to gene flow for urban-dwelling species increases. The western black widow spider (Latrodectus hesperus) is a medically relevant urban adapter pest species, for which we have previously identified population genetic signatures consistent with urbanization facilitating gene flow, likely due to human-mediated transport. Here, in an analysis of 1.9 million genome-wide SNPs, we contrast broad-scale geographical analyses of 10 urban and 11 non-urban locales with fine-scale within-city analyses including 30 urban locales across the western USA. These hierarchical datasets enable us to test hypotheses of how urbanization impacts multiple urban cities and their genetic connectivity at different spatial scales. Coupled fine-scale and broad-scale analyses reveal contrasting patterns of high and low genetic differentiation among locales within cities as a result of low and high genetic connectivity, respectively, of these cities to the overall population network. We discuss these results as they challenge the use of cities as replicates of urban eco-evolution, and have implications for conservation and human health in a rapidly growing urban habitat.
Project description:Urbanization is a global phenomenon with profound effects on the ecology and evolution of organisms. We examined the relative roles of natural selection, genetic drift and gene flow in influencing the evolution of white clover (Trifolium repens), which thrives in urban and rural areas. Trifolium repens exhibits a Mendelian polymorphism for the production of hydrogen cyanide (HCN), a potent antiherbivore defence. We quantified the relative frequency of HCN in 490 populations sampled along urban-rural transects in 20 cities. We also characterized genetic variation within 120 populations in eight cities using 16 microsatellite loci. HCN frequency increased by 0.6% for every kilometre from an urban centre, and the strength of this relationship did not significantly vary between cities. Populations did not exhibit changes in genetic diversity with increasing urbanization, indicating that genetic drift is unlikely to explain urban-rural clines in HCN frequency. Populations frequently exhibited isolation-by-distance and extensive gene flow along most urban-rural transects, with the exception of a single city that exhibited genetic differentiation between urban and rural populations. Our results show that urbanization repeatedly drives parallel evolution of an ecologically important trait across many cities that vary in size, and this evolution is best explained by urban-rural gradients in natural selection.